Monday, July 31, 2017

Harbinger Pro Wristwrap Gloves Review

Watch This Runthrough of the CrossFit Games Obstacle Course

CrossFit HQ Employees Make Their Predictions for the Games

Report: Los Angeles to Host 2028 Summer Olympics; Paris Gets 2024 Games

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the city of Los Angeles and Olympic Games leaders have reached a deal that would bring the Summer Games to Southern California in 2028. This would be the third time for Los Angeles to host the Olympics, which it also did in 1932 and 1984.

Los Angeles was originally a leading candidate city to host in 2024, along with Paris, France. In a rare move, the International Olympic Committee deemed both cities suitable candidates and suggested they would be open to awarding an Olympics to both cities, which would finalize Summer Games scheduling through 2018.

(Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics. In June, several important announcements and changes in the Olympic program were made concerning the sport of weightlifting.)

According to the LA Times article, “It has been expected that L.A. would agree to go second, if only because local bid officials expressed a willingness to consider the option.”

What are your thoughts on the 2028 Olympic Games taking place in Los Angeles? The 2024 Games in Paris? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Report: Los Angeles to Host 2028 Summer Olympics; Paris Gets 2024 Games appeared first on BarBend.

How to Watch the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

Handling Competition Day Like a Pro: A Strongman’s Primer

The Good Kitchen Review

Ring Dips Alternatives and Scaling Options

Friday, July 28, 2017

Caine Wilkes Wins Pan American Championships Gold for Team USA!

American weightlifter Caine Wilkes has a lengthy resume that includes multiple National Championships and even a few of the heaviest clean & jerks in American history. But until yesterday, one title he’s had his sights set on still eluded him: Pan American Champion.

But after Thursday’s 5-for-6 performance that ended with a 175kg snatch — good for bronze — and a 219kg clean & jerk — good for gold — Wilkes walked away in Miami with overall gold for Team USA.

Watch all his competition lifts below:

Wilkes had a hard-fought battle with defending Pan American Champion Fernando Salas of Ecuador. Salas took gold in the snatch and headed into the clean & jerks with a three kilo lead over Wilkes. But after Salas missed his final clean & jerk attempt, Wilkes nailed the clutch 219kg clean & jerk to guarantee himself the gold in the total.

Wilkes’ three medals and overall win were crucial in helping Team USA’s men lock up the second place team spot behind Colombia. Team USA’s women finished in 4th overall.

The men’s superheavyweight session was particularly interesting in that the athlete with the highest lifts and total — Brazilian Fernando Reis — was not eligible to compete for medals or points, though his total could be used toward international qualification for future meets (like the upcoming 2017 World Weightlifting Championships). Reis was entered as an “extra” lifter for Team Brazil after initially being left off the squad and then successfully petitioning the Pan American Federation for inclusion in the competition.

Reis finished the competition with a 198kg snatch — good for a new Pan American record — and a 235kg clean & jerk.

The post Caine Wilkes Wins Pan American Championships Gold for Team USA! appeared first on BarBend.

Weightlifter Jared Fleming Is Switching to CrossFit, Aims for Regionals 2018

Goblet Squat vs Barbell Squat: Do You Need Both?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sarah Robles Wins Gold for Team USA at the Pan American Championships

Team USA can add another medal to their total at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships, which are currently underway in Miami, Florida.

Just hours after American -105kg athletes D’Angelo Osorio and Wes Kitts won medals — Osorio gold in the clean & jerk and Kitts silver in the snatch and the total — +90kg weightlifter Sarah Robles won gold in her weight class.

Robles, who won bronze for America in Rio last year, snatched 120 kilograms (264.5 pounds), just one kilogram heavier than silver medalist Veronica Saladin from the Dominican Republic and two kilograms heavier than third place finisher in the snatch, Mexican athlete Tania Mascorro. The American record for the snatch remains 128 kilograms (282.2 pounds), set by Cheryl Haworth in 2003.

The snatches were close in this contest, but the clean & jerk is where Robles really separates herself from the field. As each of the other athletes hit their first lifts and their second lifts, Robles waited. Most of the athletes had finished all three of their attempts before Robles took to the stage for her first attempt of 145 kilograms (319.7 pounds), which she easily made.

That won her the gold medal before she’d even made her second lift — the rest of her lifts were just gravy. She went on to clean & jerk 150kg (330.7lb) and finally 155kg (341.7lb) for a total of 275kg (606.3lb), an easy win over second place’s Veronica Saladin, who totaled 265kg.

That’s gold in the snatch, gold in the clean & jerk, and gold in the total for Sarah Robles, the only American to compete in the +90kg weight class. No American records were broken, but that doesn’t diminish the extraordinary achievements of all the athletes who competed.

Featured image via @USWeightlifting on Twitter.

The post Sarah Robles Wins Gold for Team USA at the Pan American Championships appeared first on BarBend.

7 Full Body Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do at the Office

When you work behind a desk and lift on a regular basis, then you’re constantly fighting what feels like a never ending battle. And that battle is the prevention of poor posture and decline of fitness due to tight or weak areas on the body.

At BarBend HQ, we’re constantly working to fight the inevitable all-day sitting that comes with writing 8+ hours a day, but it gets tough. This has led us to create a mini full body workout that requires only a resistance band. A band is easy to store and bring with you to your desk, so we thought it would be useful to share what we’ve been doing.

We try to do this full circuit once or twice a day with varied rest times — we take rest as we need it for each movement. Obviously, there are multiple movements, tempos, sets, and reps you can do, but this is an example of what we do on a regular basis, and we hope it helps out, or gives you some ideas to create your own routine.

1. Resistance Band Pull Through

The first movement we like to start with is a hip thrust. Why? Well we sit all day in hip flexion, so the first thing we try to do is open our hips and ease them into hip extension.

Attach your cable to an anchored base (we use the leg of a table), and adjust feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Grab the band, hinge at the hips, and maintain a rigid posture (similar to your torso’s position in a deadlift setup).

Let your chest drop with your arms maintaining a stiff position between your legs, while hinging at the hips — try to feel a stretch in the posterior chain. Next, stand upright using your glutes to drive the hips through (resist hyper extension of the lower back).

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 12

*Tip: For those with weak, or excessively tight hips, progressively move into extension during your first set. For example, do partial movements until your hips feel comfortable fully opening up into extension. 

2. Squat + Low Single-Arm Row

Now that we’ve opened the hips up slightly, we like to perform a slightly more compound movement. For the next movement, we perform an air squat (somewhat supported by the band) with a low row (band attached to a stable anchor).

Perform an air squat. We found sitting at parallel, or just below, is best at maintaining a strong torso positioning during the row. Grab the cable similar to a row, and move through the movement keeping a stable core and using the lat to retract.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10 (each side)

*Tip: Ease into the depth of your squat and try to sit upright to the best of your abilities. We like to have a slightly higher torso angle than we would in a regular/Chinese DB row. 

[Need resistance bands? Check out our top four picks with their reviews. Make sure to choose a band that’s not too thick and stiff for full ROM exercises.]

3. Squat + Single-Arm Shoulder Press

Once we’ve done a near full depth squat and row, we progress into an even more dynamic movement. The next exercise is a full squat with a single-arm overhead press.

Place your band under both feet and hold the other end in a somewhat relaxed rack position (elbow under at an angle, so you can press).  Perform a full squat with your normal squat stance, and as you reach the top initiate the shoulder press to create a fluid squat and press.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 8 (each side)

*Tip: For the press, think bicep to ear, but be wary of how close you bring the band in. Press in a directly upward, slightly back fashion with a neutral grip to resist smacking yourself in the face (trust us on this one). 

4. Low-to-High Cable Chop + Pallof Press

Now that we’ve hit performed a few full body oriented movements, we’re going to focus on the core (an often weak area from sitting). We’re going to perform a low-to-high cable chop with a Pallof press.

To begin, maintain a soft knee bend and grab the anchored band with your arms at near full extension (very slight bend is okay). You’ll then perform a chopping movement by rotating the torso, so your arms finish in a diagonal position across the body. Make sure to initiate this movement with the torso/obliques, and not the shoulders.

Once you’ve hit the upward diagonal posture, bring your arms to the center of your body with a 90-degree elbow flexion, and perform a single Pallof press. After the press, return to the original starting position of the low-to-high chop with your arms extended.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10

*Tip: This movement shouldn’t be performed with very high tension. It’s most important that you’re moving by torso initiation and not shoulder. 

5. Banded Good Morning

After our core based movement, we’re going to move back to our hip hinge and back. The next movement will be a banded good morning, which will be performed at a high volume.

To begin, place the band under both feet and around the neck (you can hold it to take pressure off the upper traps/neck). Similar to the pull through, we’ll extend the hips back with a soft knee bend, and a rigid torso.

You’ll progress through the movement until you feel your torso begin to drop, back round, and erectors disengage. Once you’ve hit that point, then you’ll return to your starting position with your hips completing the exercise. My advice: stop a little short before you normally round to ensure you maintain a rigid torso position.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 15

*Tip: Pay close attention to the depth you’re able to achieve. If you find your chest dropping and your torso becoming rounded, then you’ve gone too far. 

[Band featured in article is an EliteFTS 41 inch Pro Mini Resistance Band.]

6. Plank + Banded Kick Back

This is possibly the toughest movement in the circuit, so we recommend trying it without the band at first, or simplifying it to just a plank and kick back separately.

To begin, place the band around the wrists and one foot while in a plank position. Once you’ve created tension and found your plank’s posture, kick back the banded foot, so your leg is nearly parallel to the floor (squeezing the glute).

Try your best to maintain even hips (don’t let one drop) and engage the glutes to create the kicking movement. If this is too difficult, then perform a plank, and kick back individually.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6 (each side)

*Tip: Be weary of sagging hips and lower back hyper extension when performing the banded kick back. If you’re doing either, then simplify the movement without resistance, or perform one movement at a time (40 sec plank, then 6 kick backs). 

7. Bicep Curl + Tricep Extension 1:2 (Aka Pre-Meeting Exercise)

We couldn’t do a full office workout without some bro-esque movements. The final exercise is a bicep curl to tricep extension. These are best performed before meetings, or presentations when you need to look vascular and pumped for your co-workers.

Place the band under your same curl/extension sided foot, and grip it with a neutral hand positioning. Perform a hammer curl, then rock your elbow towards the sky. Once your elbow is parallel to the floor, or slightly higher (for those like me with a little tendonitis), you’ll begin to initiate two tricep extensions (keep the elbow tight to the body).

Once you’ve hit both tricep extensions, then you’ll return to the starting movement, and bring the elbow back down. After the 1:2 rep ratio, repeat the curl to extension combo.

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 6:12 (each side, curl:extension ratio)

*Tip: You can do a 1:1 ratio and increase reps if you’d like. I like the 1:2 because the tricep is the dominant upper arm muscle. Also, keep the elbow in to avoid the band getting caught when moving between movements. Lastly, you can perform these one at a time if you choose to do so. 

Wrapping Up

This is an example of a circuit we do on a regular basis. You can take these movements and combine them into your own circuit, or add more specific exercises as you need them. What’s most important is that you’re moving during the day and fighting the posture problems that come with a sedentary lifestyle.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Always perform movements at your own risk and level of fitness. If any of these movements create pain or discomfort, then stop performing the exercise where pain occurs and seek a medical professional.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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Wes Kitts, D’Angelo Osorio Add to Team USA Medal Count at Pan American Championships

Kinesiology Taping for Knee Pain and Stability

4 Benefits of Ring Dips

Krzysztof Wierzbicki Just Made the Heaviest Deadlift in the History of the IPF

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dave Castro Shares Second 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Individual Event

Amit Sapir Is the First Man to Hold the Squat Record in 4 Weight Classes Simultaneously

After Knee Replacement, Vlad Alhazov Becomes the First to Squat 500Kg Raw With Wraps

Five hundred kilograms. One thousand, one hundred and two pounds.

It’s a rare thing to find a human being who can get under that kind of weight without crumpling like a tin can, but Ukrainian powerlifter Vlad Alhazov got under the bar, bent his tightly-wrapped knees, and officially squatted 500 kilograms at an IPA meet this weekend. With a 395kg (870lb) deadlift and a 230kg (507lb) bench press, he totaled 1125kg (2480.2lb).

No, he didn’t walk it out like he’d have to in the IPF, but darn it, a 500kg raw squat deserves some serious respect. This absolutely shattered the previous world record from Andrey Malanichev — he hit a 485kg (1069lb) squat in October last year.

This is a goal Alhazov has been quietly working toward for a while now, and while his online footprint isn’t huge (and his Instagram is private), we did find a clip of him hitting a squat of 485 kilograms a few weeks ago in Israel. It looks like he’s wearing wraps here, too.

Note that this 485kg squat was a personal record for Alhazov, and he only just hit it on July 4. It took him less than three weeks to move his PR from 485kg to 500kg.

Like we said, there’s not a ton of information out there about Vlad Alhazov, which is all the more unusual because once upon a time, he held the IPA world record for the equipped squat too: 567kg (1,250 pounds).

This was almost ten years ago, shortly before Alhazov suffered a serious knee injury trying to squat (equipped) 590kg (1,300 pounds) at Westside Barbell. His knee caved inward on the descent, which ultimately necessitated a full knee replacement.

Yup, Vlad Alhazov has squatted 500kg with a replaced knee. (Whether or not it was replaced with a hydraulic press, we can’t be sure.) This one was truly a squat for the history books.

Featured image via Power Mafia on YouTube.

The post After Knee Replacement, Vlad Alhazov Becomes the First to Squat 500Kg Raw With Wraps appeared first on BarBend.

CrossFit Team Series Takes New Formatting for 2017

5 Benefits of Goblet Squats

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Watch: CrossFit Games Athletes Make Fun of Gym Stereotypes

“I need more chalk for burpees!”

“I could go faster but I gotta play it safe, I could make Regionals in a couple of years.”

So, this is pretty great. Reebok Canada has just released a sketch that’s all about (gently) mocking the kinds of people you just may have come across in your CrossFit box from time to time. And we’ve got to say, we recognized a lot of these characters.

We’re not talking about the “actors” themselves, which include athletes Patrick Vellner, Emily Abbott, Brent Fikowski, Tyson Takasaki, Paul Tremblay, and Albert-Dominic Larouche, but the characters they play.

We’re sure you recognize some of them, including the guy who needs every piece of gear in the gym (even knee sleeves on his elbows), the one who can’t squat without the right shoes, the athlete who always needs to pee right before the metcon, the guy who “just wants to grind”…

I’s a good watch.

What do you think was missing? We would have liked to see:

This is probably the funniest video we’ve seen set in a CrossFit video since Conan O’Brien and Kevin Hart visited CrossFit Horsepower in Los Angeles county.

The two visted the gym last September, and the famously fit Hart took Conan through circuits of slam balls, partner sit-ups, and muscle-ups. (Hart is actually pretty darn fit: check out our article on his very impressive bench press.)

Anyway, Reebok Canada’s skit from today was a great way to start the weekend, and we hope to see more CrossFit athletes flexing their comedy muscle.

Featured image via Reebok Canada on Facebook.

The post Watch: CrossFit Games Athletes Make Fun of Gym Stereotypes appeared first on BarBend.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vs. Isopure Low Carb — Which Is the Best Whey?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Is This the Heaviest Set of Jerks Ever Completed?

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about the heaviest weights ever lifted around here. But in our opinion, not enough cred is given to the heaviest sets ever lifted.

Earlier this week, for instance, Chris Bridgeford deadlifted a weight that was five pounds shy of the IPF world record… but he did it five times. Last month Jenn Rotsinger deadlifted triple bodyweight, which wouldn’t win her many world records… but she did it twenty-three times. Sometimes, a world record for reps seems in order.

Which brings us to the Belarusian weightlifter Andrei Aramnau. Now, Aramanu, who retired in 2016, is plenty strong in one-rep maxes. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the -105kg athlete clean & jerked 236 kilograms (520.3 pounds) and snatched 200kg (441lb), which gave him new snatch and total world records at the time.

But in 2013, Aramnau may have completed the heaviest set of jerks (with a rerack) ever.

It’s tough to know for sure, not just because two-rep sets aren’t recorded in the record books but also because the jerk isn’t a competition lift without a clean.

But yikes, 240 kilograms (529 pounds) for two reps? With a rerack?

We’ve gotta say, we think it’s worth watching the thirty seconds before he starts the set so that the full gravity of the situation (and the barbell) can sink in. Aramnau is clearly — and justifiably — taking his time to steel his nerves and motivate himself for the Herculean task ahead.

Image via tarmlm on YouTube.

[Did you know Andrei Aramnau had to cut off one of his fingers to compete in weightlifting? It’s true! Here’s why.]

Despite saying he retired in 2016, Aramnau recently said that he’s been training again and hopes to return to the sport at the 2019 European Games. If weightlifting does get named as an event at the Games (it hasn’t yet), we’ll definitely be watching.

Featured image via tarmlm on YouTube.

The post Is This the Heaviest Set of Jerks Ever Completed? appeared first on BarBend.

Harrison Maurus PRs His Jerk With 200kg, Three Days Before Pan Ams

Inside the Crazy Strength Sport of Finger Wrestling

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MusclePharm BCAA 3:1:2 Review — Why the Different Ratio?

6 Tips to Make Counting Your Macros Way Easier

Chris Bridgeford Deadlifts 370kg for Five Reps at 119kg Bodyweight

Dave Castro Announces 1RM Clean & Jerk Team Event at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

Watch This 52-Year-Old Smash the World Record for Most Push-Ups In an Hour

In the Body Club Fitness Center in Margaret River, Western Australia, construction worker Carlton Williams has hit a pretty serious PR.

Well, it’s an all-time WR, actually: Two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two push-ups in one hour. Oh, and he’s 52 years old.

What makes this achievement all the sweeter is that Williams was taking his record back from Roman Dossenbach, from Switzerland. Williams set the record in 2015 at 2,220, then Dossenbach beat it with 2,392 push-ups. So Williams beat that record by almost three hundred extra reps.

[For more high-rep madness, check out our piece on the most insanely heavy, high-rep barbell exercises we’ve seen!]

“I did it to prove I’m the best,” Williams said.

As the Guinness World Records state on their site, this particular record is “one of the most hotly contested fitness records we monitor, with three challengers raising the bar since Carlton achieved a total of 2,220 back in 2015.”

If you’ve got time to kill, you can watch the entire hour of push-ups in the video below. It averages out to roughly 45 per minute, and he takes short breaks throughout.

All he says at the end of the clip is, “Thanks, everybody. That wasn’t my best.”

We’ll admit that we didn’t watch the entire thing, but we saw enough to know that Williams would get “no rep”ed pretty quickly in a CrossFit box or a military workout, since his chest rarely touches the ground.

Guinness says on their site:

Doing the push ups, he had to lower his body until a 90 degree angle was attained at the elbow, in order to add the rep to his tally and for it to be accepted by Guinness World Records.

We couldn’t find the world record for most chest-to-ground push-ups in an hour, but we did find this video of the most push-ups completed in twenty-four hours: 46,001, by American Charles Servizio in 1993.

Then there’s this record for most one-fingered push-ups in thirty seconds. China’s Guizhong Xie hit forty-one in thirty seconds, crushing his previous record of twenty-five.

Note that Guinness allows you to do these on your knuckle, if you want. Xie decided not to.

Meanwhile, the current world record for freestanding handstand push-ups? Twenty-nine in a minute. There’s no footage of it, but there is this clip of the previous record holder, Armenian Manvel Mamoyan, hitting twenty-seven reps.

It’s very impressive, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a CrossFit athlete came along and casually broke that record in one set.

Featured image via Guinness World Records on YouTube.

The post Watch This 52-Year-Old Smash the World Record for Most Push-Ups In an Hour appeared first on BarBend.

Dave Castro Announces Max Snatch Event for 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

How to Grow Strongman in the United States

Dumbbell Thrusters vs Barbell Thrusters vs Kettlebell Thrusters

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BREAKING: CBS Sports Set to Air 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games (And Pre-Games Coverage)

CBS Sports has just announced they’ll be airing and covering the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games. Coverage is set to start tomorrow Thursday, July 20th, at 8 P.M. EST, and go through the final day of the Games on Sunday, August 6th at 10 P.M. EST.

The coverage starting tomorrow will highlight individual competitors, teams, and the history of the Games. Additionally, on Monday, October 16th, CBS Sports will air highlights about athletes and one hour specials from the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games. These highlights and specials will go through the end of 2017, and the network has also said they’ll air a two hour special in December of the CrossFit Invitational.

When the Games officially start, fans can watch two hours of live coverage after each day of competition on CBS Sports at 10 P.M. EST. And live coverage will air on Saturday, August 5th at 1 P.M. EST, which will be aired on CBS Sports as well.

Image courtesy CBS Sports video. 

If you don’t have access to CBS Sports network, or a television, then you’ll be able to watch the Games online at the CrossFit Games website and through Facebook. Earlier this year, CrossFit signed a deal with Facebook to live stream major events, which we got a taste of during Regionals.

Below is the schedule of the four pre-games special CBS Sports will be airing.

“Road to the Fittest: The History”- July 20, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: Men’s Contenders”- July 20, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: Women’s Contenders”- July 27, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
“Road to the Fittest: The Champions”- July 27, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET

The partnership with CBS Sports could do big things to further the sport of CrossFit by potentially bringing in more viewership. Last year, and years in the past, CrossFit was aired on ESPN with pre-game and official Games coverage running in a similar manner. Could CBS Sports bring in a larger demographic of viewership to this year’s Games? In addition, the new Facebook Live deal may bring in a larger reach for the sport as well.

From the CBS Sports article, Justin Bergh, General Manager of the CrossFit Games said, “We’re excited that CBS Sports is our new television partner. CrossFit athletes are unquestionably the fittest in the world and the CrossFit Games are their ultimate proving grounds. We’re thrilled that CBS Sports platforms will air our entire season and we look forward to teaming up to showcase the CrossFit community.” 

In addition, Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President of Programming of CBS Sports went on to say, “We are pleased to partner with CrossFit and bring this exciting and intense competition to the CBS Sports platforms.” Then added, “CrossFit is more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle with a dedicated worldwide following and we are eager to showcase these physically gifted athletes. Competitive fitness is a high-growth sports genre and adding CrossFit to our programming expands our commitment to the space.”

Feature image screenshot from CBS Sports video. 

The post BREAKING: CBS Sports Set to Air 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games (And Pre-Games Coverage) appeared first on BarBend.

How to Watch the 2017 Senior Pan American Weightlifting Championships

Kevin Oak Pulls a 370kg (815 lb) Deadlift PR

Reebok Launches Fantasy CrossFit (With Insane Prizes)

Competition Tips for the Traveling Strongman

6 Benefits of Kettlebell Thrusters

Kinesiology Taping for Tennis Elbow

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sports Acupuncture – Can It Benefit Strength Athletes?

Susan Salazar Nails a World Record Total and a 602 Wilks

Position USA Discount Coupon Code

So You Wanna Be a Powerlifter? Know Your Equipment

In our first episode, we discussed different powerlifting federations you can compete in. This week we’ll explore the equipment available to athletes in each of those federations.

The decision about which federation to compete in is often heavily influenced by the equipment you choose to use when you compete. Let’s talk a little bit about the difference between ‘raw’ and ‘equipped’ powerlifting:

Raw powerlifting refers to lifts performed without the use of supportive suits and shirts. What constitutes ‘raw powerlifting’ varies from federation to federation which I’ll explain more below. This style of lifting is often more accessible to beginners.

Equipped powerlifting is a category of lifting which uses supportive equipment. Within equipped powerlifting there are single-ply and multi-ply suits and shirts. This supportive equipment will aid the lifter in moving more weight – if the lifter can master the necessary techniques to use said equipment properly!  


The IPF’s raw division is called “Classic”, and constitutes the use of a “non-supportive suit” – or singlet, a T-shirt made of non-supportive material, legless underwear, socks, a lifting belt, shoes or boots, knee sleeves (not knee wraps!), and wrist wraps.  

For the IPF, ‘Equipped’ lifting is the use of single-ply supportive suits for the squat and deadlift, knee wraps for the squat, and a single-ply supportive shirt for the bench press. (all sourced from IPF Technical Rule Book 2017).

100% RAW

In the 100% RAW Federation, they only allow the use of a non-supportive suit or singlet, a lifting belt, and wrist wraps. The rulebook states that a lifter cannot use “elbow sleeves, knee wraps, knee sleeves, tape applied around a limb or finger, supportive lifting suit, supportive briefs, compression shorts, supportive shirts or compression shirts”. As implied by the name of the federation, 100% RAW does not have an Equipped lifting category.


The IPL has a number of divisions, which include; ‘raw’ to the same rules as the IPF’s ‘Classic’ division, as well as ‘Classic Raw’ which allows the use of knee wraps in addition to the usual singlet, belt, and wrist wraps.

The IPA, GPC, SPF, and others have a ‘Multi-Ply Equipped’ division where the use of multi-ply suits is allowed. The biggest difference between multi-ply and single-ply equipment is the number of layers of material used. Multi-ply equipment is generally more supportive and lifters using it often handle larger loads. The biggest single ply squat in IPF history is 505kg, while the biggest multi-ply squat is 575kg. (as of June 2017). It is worth noting that multi-ply meets allow the use of briefs that lifters wear under their squat and deadlift suits for added support.

All federations will have specifications for the equipment that is useable in competition in a given division. If you’re curious, just check their rule-book. For example, the IPF only allows certain brands who have paid to be ‘approved’ on the platform at higher level meets – usually National level and up.

Up next week, we’ll talk about some of the information you’ll need to know to register for your first powerlifting meet!

The post So You Wanna Be a Powerlifter? Know Your Equipment appeared first on BarBend.

Kinesiology Tape for Shoulder Pain and Stability

Official Strongman Announces New Online Qualifier (and Path to World’s Strongest Man)

Official Strongman made an announcement a few days ago that left every aspiring strongman and woman looking at flights to North Carolina. This news that has caused waves in the strength world is that they will be hosting — along with Train Strongman — a World’s Strongest festival, to be held in North Carolina this December. The show will have 7 World titles on offer, and even a qualifying spot for Giants Live.

World’s Strongest Man: Masters
World’s Strongest Man: 105kg / 231lbs
World’s Strongest Man: 90kg / 198lbs
World’s Strongest Man: 80kg / 176lbs
World’s Strongest Woman: Open
World’s Strongest Woman: 82kg / 180lbs
World’s Strongest Woman: 64kg / 141lbs
Giant’s Live Qualifier: Open Mens

Let’s be honest: we all grew up watching World’s Strongest Man on TV and wanted nothing more than to be given a world stage to pull planes and flip tires just like the athletes on our screens.

Until recently, that was nothing more than a fantasy for all but a select few 6ft+, 180kg monsters (and Lalas). That’s not to say though that there weren’t competitions for the lightweights and women. There most definitely were, but despite some fantastic efforts from promoters, they’ve never been shown the same love by the higher ups in the sport. Hopefully this festival could be the first step in the right direction to making that a reality.

The big boys (superheavyweight/open men) haven’t been left out either, but they instead will be competing for a place at Giants Live, which is in turn a World’s Strongest Man Qualifier.

Official Strongman attempted something of a similar type last year with their Official Strongman, European and North American Championships. Both these shows were again a great start, but with only two events – a max log and deadlift – it missed out on the nuances that make strongman so exciting. This show, however, appears to have rectified that missing element, and knowing the guys involved, especially Aaron Molin, I’d expect this to be a heck of an event.

Qualification couldn’t be simpler, as a big part of Official Strongman’s philosophy is that as long as you have access to basic strongman equipment you should have the opportunity to show what you can do. As such the qualifying process is entirely online and consists of just three events.

The Deadlift – Total Tonnage in 30 seconds

Though the total tonnage in 30 seconds isn’t exactly classic strongman, it is at least interesting to see OSM move away from the one rep maxes they started with. The rules for this appear to be remarkably simple: max reps at a weight of your choosing with every rep coming to a dead stop on the ground and your score being reps completed (I’m calling Colin’s final rep out…) multiplied by weight on the bar. Belts and straps, etc. are allowed, though suits are not. Hitching isn’t mentioned in the video, but this is still strongman, so I imagine that’s still allowed.

Hopefully a plethora of differing theories will arise about the best weight to pick for this event over the coming months. Personally though I’m looking at it as a continuous fifteen rep max with a time cap. The time frame is just too short for any more reps, as in reality there are very few people who could maintain a pace faster than two seconds per dead stop rep regardless of weight. My advice for all three of these events is to use fractional plates wherever possible as there will likely be a lot of people getting roughly fifteen reps at each standard weight. So if your gym has fractional plates, put your ego to one side and throw them on the bar, that extra kilo adds up over 15 reps.       

The Log – Three rep max shoulder to overhead

This event I really like: beautifully simple and a near perfect test of pressing power. Clean the log from the floor to your shoulders once, and then any way you please get the weight from yours shoulders to locked out overhead three times. This can be a push press, a jerk, or a strict press if you are feeling strong. Really there are no special tactics or tricks, just go as heavy as you can and try to get all three reps.

The Farmers – Max weight for 100ft (No drops)

While the other two qualifier events are relatively standard practice, this one is a little outside the box. Basically it’s a max weight farmer’s walk for 100ft with a turn at the halfway point, heaviest weight wins, with time to be used to separate tie breakers. It gets complicated though at that halfway point, as only one foot has to ‘break’ the line at the other end, making a big part of this event just negotiating that turn.

If you have little or no experience at taking turns with farmer’s walks, it’s something I would recommend spending a lot of time practicing, as that awkward turn will catch a lot of folks out. We gave this a go this week, and that turn really is the game changer. After a couple of attempts the technique that seemed to work the best was to go into the corner slow and wide, then not speed up until the handles have settled again.

As weight is the key factor here I’d almost entirely ignore the time element of this event and focus solely on going as heavy as you can (slap the fractional plates on, too). If you have access to multiple farmers then you might want to select the shortest handles you have as the longer they are the harder that turn is going to be.

There you have it: the three events that you need to master to make it to World’s Strongest Man.    

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Official Strongman Announces New Online Qualifier (and Path to World’s Strongest Man) appeared first on BarBend.

3 Benefits of Toes to Bar

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What CrossFitters Can Learn from Bodybuilding

I like to do silly things. If you read my article on attempting to run 100 miles in 24 hours with nothing but strength training behind me, then this statement won’t surprise you. While that particular endeavor was a glorious failure in the sense that I came up short by 38 miles, I learned so much about how my body works in those 24 hours that has since made me a better ‘athlete’ today. So when my training partner told me that he was going to get in shape for a bodybuilding show by sticking almost entirely to CrossFit® training, I was interested enough to follow him around with a camera and track his progression.

CrossFit Kroy’s Head Coach, Ricky T, before and after  

Honestly I expected Ricky’s attempt to go about as well as my run, but I was wrong. Eight weeks out from the competition, Rick had lost 10kgs, looked more muscular, was moving better, and was actually a little bit stronger. Which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising given that in recent years CrossFit has become a bit of a go to for the average guy or girl on the street who wants to lose a little fat and gain a little muscle. And for good reason, too: big compound movements, hard work, and good diet is a potent combination that works. It was working wonders for people long before it was neatly packaged and trademarked, back then though it was just thought of as lifting and conditioning.

In those early days, bodybuilders and strength athletes were for the most part one and the same, with many bodybuilding shows being split into two parts, the first being the typical posing routine and the second a strength element typically a weightlifting competition. As such the strong had to look good and the jacked had to be strong.    

And whether we admit it or not that’s what most of us want, to not only be strong and athletic but to look as well. With that in mind there are a few things strength and functional fitness athletes can learn from the bodybuilding world.

Lesson One – Are you as lean as you think?

One of the great things about bodybuilding is that it forces you to honestly assess the state of your body. When you get on that stage you can’t hide behind flattering clothes, good lighting, or that filter that makes you look jacked; you’re laid bare. In prep for his competition the first thing Ricky did was strip down and take a load of relaxed photos in neutral lighting (outside) to give him an honest starting point. The results were as expected; he was softer than he’d thought.

Abs that were fully visible under the overhead lights of the gym weren’t popping anymore, and muscles that look great flexed appeared flat. While modern day strength sports don’t require an aesthetic component, keeping track of your body fat levels is still important, not only for performance but for health as well. You could argue that extra body fat might help you better fit a suit but aside from geared lifting that excess body fat won’t make you a better athlete, it will however put your health at risk.  

Chances are if you take this whole competitive fitness lark seriously you’ll be doing a lot right already. Just look at the CrossFit Games athletes and you will see just what incredible shape that style of training can get you in, with most of the competitors looking like they are only a water cut away from being able to step on a natural bodybuilding stage (a rabbit hole we won’t go down today). So if you’re not as lean as you’d like to be, chances are that it’s your diet that’s holding you back.

Take stock of what you are eating; do you really need to go 1000 calories over maintenance just to fuel today’s 40 minute session? For that matter, do you even know how many calories you’re eating? If not try for a week plugging everything you eat into an app like myFitnessPal, this will not only make you aware of each food choice but also provide reliable feedback on the total calories and breakdown of the macros.

Lesson Two – Accessories have their place.

The other thing you notice when you get some brutally honest photos taken is that often you are not the perfectly proportioned greek god you thought you were. Don’t worry, you are not alone; years of jerking anything heavier than 80kg over head has left me with zero shoulders, Ricky struggled with hamstrings being relatively smaller than his quads, and everyone else has their weaknesses, too. Sadly, just doing more of the big lifts probably isn’t going to make the situation any better and might even just make it worse.

In big compound lifts your body will work out the most effective way to move the weight, favoring the stronger muscles and protecting the weaker ones. To counter this you need to target those weak muscles and those weak muscles alone. This won’t just make you prettier but will also help you add kilos to your compound movements. Something I was skeptical to believe for a long time until I saw Ricky’s deadlift shoot up at a lower body weight, the only difference a tonne of hamstring isolation work.

Lesson Three – Bad foods can be good foods.

For the general population Paleo is fantastic, anything that cuts out the refined foods that litter the vast majority of diets can only be considered a good thing. However, just like BMI is good for the general populace but terrible for athletes, Paleo too can fall short for those pushing the limits in training. If you are training hard at least 7 times a week while adhering to a strict Paleo diet, you could be missing out on a lot. Mainly enough carbohydrates to recover fully between sessions.

And if you are eating Paleo for fat loss and are seeing progress slow down, you might want to start looking at packaged food again. Packaged food comes weighed and measured, while natural food does not. Something I only truly appreciated while watching Ricky whittle a jacket potato down to 100g before cooking it. As the weeks went on and motivation waned, this just became an unnecessary drain and more and more of his carb sources came from packaged products like grits: Foods that were tamper proof, so that he couldn’t accidentally add a little more here and there when he was hungry. Those grams and calories add up.

Lesson Four – It can go too far.

At 8 weeks out Ricky was stronger than ever and flying through WODS; at four weeks out he was struggling mentally but still able to hit 90% of his 1RMs on most lifts and was still coherent enough for skills like double-unders. With ten days to go though, that all fell apart. It was like talking to a dead man, a dead man who does nothing but slowly pedal an Assault Bike and curl. On 800 calories a day you can’t do much else.

If you want to be a strength athlete, you can learn a lot from bodybuilders. No sport requires more total dedication and disregard for your own misery but don’t let it go too far. Keep yourself lean, train accessories and don’t be dogmatic in your eating. But if you do go down the bodybuilding rabbit hole, don’t worry; fueled by a week’s worth of pizza, he was doing a fitness comp a few days later.       

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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5 Effective Tips for Stronger Handstands

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

After Two Hip Replacements, Ed Coan Squats 585 Pounds for Reps

Wes Kitts Hits a 220kg Clean in Training, Closes in on American Record

Here’s the First Announced Event of the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games

Celebrating America’s 5 World’s Strongest Man Winners

In the Revolutionary War, Americans proved they were of strong resolve and conviction… but did they even lift?

As you toast to our independence, remember these five exceptional Americans who proved to the world our citizens are not merely tough, they’re strong.

Bruce Wilhelm of Sunnyvale, California – ’77 & ‘78 (Born in 1945)

Bruce Wilhelm snatched 400lbs before any other American.

A fifth-place Olympic weightlifter at Montreal in 1976, Bruce Wilhelm was invited to the inaugural World’s Strongest Man the following year.

The first WSM featured a motley crew of American athletes with Italian bodybuilder Franco Columbu the lone exception. There were weightlifters, powerlifters, bodybuilders, a hammer thrower, and even NFL guard Bob Young, who proved to be incredibly strong.

At 6’3.5”, 326lbs Wilhelm was the biggest man at the 1977 World’s Strongest Man. He utilized his considerable size advantage and weightlifting background to great effect.

After multiple failed efforts, Wilhelm was the only man to lift and press a 250-pound barrel – and he did so after multiple failed efforts. He also made short work of his smaller foes in the Tug-of-War.

Perhaps most impressively, however, he rocketed his gargantuan body forward to win the Wheelbarrow Race, the Vehicle Pull, and the Fridge Carry. After which he exclaimed, “Bodybuilders aren’t in shape for this kind of stuff – you’ve got to be strong.”

Back in 1977, no men were training for strongman. Strongman didn’t exist. (The Highland Games existed, but nothing quite like the World’s Strongest Man.) In 1978, however, competitors had a clue as to what they could expect. They trained specifically for the events, and more non-Americans joined the fray.

Bruce Wilhelm beat them, too.

Don Reinhoudt of Fredonia, New York – ‘79 (Born in 1945)

[Footage from Don Reinhoudt’s record-setting powerlifting meet]

Don Reinhoudt is the only Superheavyweight Powerlifter to win the IPF World Championships four times in a row (1973-1976). Though he retired from powerlifting after his fourth consecutive win, his raw total of 2391lbs held up until the year 2013.

Also about 6’3.5”, Reinhoudt weighed more than 360lbs as a powerlifter and retrained to strongman for health reasons, dropping over 100lbs of bodyweight in one year.

With his leaned-out frame, Reinhoudt finished second to Wilhelm in 1978 and came back hungry for victory. Then, he staved off proven contender Lars Hedlund and the now-legendary Bill Kazmaier (in his rookie year).

Don Roundhoudt’s Wikipedia page is a treasure trove of unbelievable numbers. If you add up his best lifts (outside of competition), you sum an otherworldly 2556lbs. Sadly, this strength demi-god tore his biceps and hamstring at the 1980 WSM, ending his career, and making way for the birth of another American legend.

Bill Kazmaier of Burlington, Wisconsin – ’80, ’81, ‘82 (Born in 1953)

Bill Kazmaier is the only American on the short list of the World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame.

In 1980, five nations were represented at WSM – the most ever for the competition up to that point. But it didn’t matter who turned up.

Kazmaier won a laundry list of events: the Bar Bend, the Girl Lift (a smith-machine squat with 1980s flair), the Deadlift, the Tug-of-War, the Engine Race (a modified Wheelbarrow Race), and even tied in the Log Lift.

The man affectionately known as Kaz’ went on to etch the first three-peat in World’s Strongest Man history, an accomplishment that wouldn’t be matched until Magnus Ver Magnusson earned his second, third, and fourth titles between 1994 and ’96.

Astonishingly, Bill Kazmaier was not invited to participate in the World’s Strongest Man contests following 1982. Believe it or not, the producers of the show thought it would be boring to see the same man win too many years in a row.

And yet, if you ask the humble 1983 & ’85 winner Geoff Capes, he’ll tell you, “…on a pound-for-pound level, at that time, [Bill Kazmaier] was probably the strongest man in the world.”

Phil Pfister of Charleston, West Virginia – ‘06 (Born in 1971)

Americans won the first six WSM contests, but when the popularity of strongman surged on the world stage, they fell into a dry spell.

Scandinavians had won eight years in a row before Polish powerhouse Mariusz Pudzianowski began his reign in 2002. Despite an off year in 2004 (where he was disqualified for banned substances after finishing in third), Pudzianowski seemed unbeatable. But all men are mortal.

Phil Pfister had never seen the podium before beating one of the greatest strongmen of all time, and he did it with fanfare.

In a very difficult Overhead Lift event, no one, including Mariusz Pudzianowski, could lift more than two-out-of-four stones. Mariusz thrust his two up in the fastest time, and was holding onto first place when Pfister stepped up to perform.

Pfister not only lifted the third stone, clinching first place… he went ahead and lifted the fourth stone in a show of psychological warfare to his rival.

Later, Pfister would close the contest in a razor close finish at the Atlas Stones.

“I did it my way, and no one can stop you if you want to do it your way.” – Phil Pfister

Brian Shaw of Fort Lupton, Colorado – ’11, ’13, ’15, ‘16 (Born in 1982)

[Brian Shaw’s willpower on display, deadlifting 1073lbs through injury]

As it turns out, size matters. Phil Pfister was a fast-moving giant, at 6’6”, 370lbs. Brian Shaw, however, may need another descriptor.

At 6’8”, ~435lbs, Brian Shaw is a super-giant. Like his predecessor Pfister, he manages to move that mass with incredible speed, performing as a true all-rounder.

Second only to his chief rival Zydrunas Savickas in Top-3 placements, he’s seen the podium more than any other American: eight times. And while Savickas may have two more showings in the Top-3, it is a good deal in part because he has spent a decade longer in the sport.

Only nine strongmen have won the competition more than once. With four wins, he stands beside Savickas, and Iceland’s greatest lifters, Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson. But Shaw is primed to tie Mariusz Pudzianowski’s record of five titles.

Shaw may not have won in 2017, but he continues to break and set records on an annual basis. So long as he is active, America is viable for strongman gold.

Featured image: The World’s Strongest Man on YouTube

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

The post Celebrating America’s 5 World’s Strongest Man Winners appeared first on BarBend.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How to Make Two-A-Day Strength Training Work for You

I try to avoid talking too much about lifting outside of the strength world. Understandably most people just don’t care what you do in the gym, and for the most part the ones who do are often after justification for their woefully misguided habits. But every now and then someone will ask a direct lifting question that just can’t be politely avoided. As was the case a few weeks ago at a job interview for a marketing role at a ‘healthy’ food chain, assuming I was in safe company I opened up.

“So how often do you train?”
“Probably about two to three times.”

“A week?”

“A day.”

“Why would anyone do that?”

“Errrrrm, to get stronger”

Cue five minutes of me having to diplomatically explaining my rationale. Fortunately, though, that did mean I didn’t have to talk about my lack of marketing experience and I left that cafe with a job offer but sadly no prospective training partners. The reality is that despite the stigma, training multiple times a day isn’t just for professional athletes and weirdos; it’s a brilliant solution for anyone with easy access to a gym and who wants to get the most out of their sessions.

There are a couple of distinct ways to get in multiple sessions in a day, the first is what I’m recommending: to split up your main lifts and accessory work into two smaller sessions with a rest in the middle. The second option is to just add in more separate training sessions in. For the normal person, the latter is rarely feasible; full time jobs and social commitments have a nasty habit of robbing you of the required recovery time to train like a Bulgarian weight lifter.

The First Four Weeks

Schedule your training around your own day; what works for most is to go on the way to or from work, with a morning ‘pump’ session and then an afternoon/evening session with bigger weights and more intensity. This not only provides the most recovery time between sessions but cuts down on travel to the gym. If you have a home or garage gym then it’s even easier.

Easing yourself into this higher frequency is key to not burning out in the first few weeks; instead of just jumping in with twice the heavy sessions a week’s start easy and build. The following four week plan has proven to do just that, and think of it as a warm up for your main session.

In the beginning these morning sessions are just designed to get you moving and reinforcing the fundamental movements. Resist the temptation to skip this vital piece of the puzzle and just jump into double deadlift days, your body will thank you and you’ll start to see improvements in movement and strength before the four weeks are up.

Week One and Two Morning Session

  • Five Sets of Pull-ups (3-5 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of Push-ups (5-10 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of 15 on a GHD (Kettlebell swings work in a push as a replacement)
  • Five sets of 5 paused front squats (keeping it light)

Week One and Two Evening Session

  • Train as normal, following your typical program.

Week Three and Four Morning Session

  • Five Sets of Pull ups (2 reps short of failure) supersetted with Five sets of Push-ups (5 reps short of failure)
  • Five sets of 15 on a GHD (Kettlebell swings work in a push as a replacement) supersetted with Five sets of 5 paused front squats (keeping it light)
  • One accessory movement from the evening session.

Week One and Two Evening Session

  • As normal but without the accessory movements done in the morning from the morning session.

The Real Deal

As your body and routine adjusts to the increased frequency and volume of the two a days, you can start to tweak up the program a little, though I heavily suggest keeping the pull ups, push ups, light squats, and posterior chain movements in (read more about bodyweight training for strength here). You can put these fundamental movements together in a circuit and blast through them in twenty minutes, but your body will thank you. On top of these basics you can start to add more intense movements/heavier weights into these AM sessions as you feel ready.

The best way to do this is to slowly swap your evenings accessory movements into the morning sessions. This leaves you with more time and energy to really get the most out of the big lifts or WODS in the evening. The other option is to use those morning sessions to bring up a weakness and maybe even make it a strength. Struggling to jerk? You won’t be after working the technique every morning for a couple of weeks; the same goes for fat loss, conditioning, or almost any other movement.

Just remember whatever you do in the gym, you need to be able to recover from, so if you are struggling to lock out heavy deadlifts, maxing out on rack pulls every morning is not the answer. But high volume dumbbell rows and technique work might be a good start.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Images: Christo Bland

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